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African Union imposes sanctions, freezes assets of president, govt officials

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-17

The African Union has imposed sanctions – including a refusal to grant visas, asset freezes on domestic and foreign property, and diplomatic isolation – on Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina, who seized power last year, and 108 other people.

REUTERS - The African Union slapped sanctions on Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina and 108 other people in the Indian Ocean island who have backed Africa's youngest leader since he seized power a year ago.

The African Union had signalled in February it would impose targeted sanctions if there was no progress by March 16 on forming a new government with the three main opposition groups to restore constitutional order as soon as possible.
 
"The sanctions consist of a refusal to grant visas, the freezing of assets, including their financial assets in foreign banks, and diplomatic isolation," said Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.
 
He said others targeted included the government, Rajoelina's key supporters, senior military officers backing the president, members of the constitutional court and other politicians seen as obstacles to a negotiated solution to the crisis.
 
"I hope the sanctions will have the effect of nurturing wisdom among the parties and the realisation that the solution has to be based on consensus," said Lamamra.
 
Some analysts said the sanctions were largely symbolic and would have little impact on Rajoelina's rule, as long as influential military allies continued to back him.
 
"It is a purely political gesture and will probably have no impact whatsoever on the government," said Edward George of the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
 
Rajoelina was resigned to being sanctioned by the 53-member African Union and has remained defiant throughout.
 
"If I am prevented from travelling, I don't mind. I will stay here with you," he told a crowd on Wednesday while visiting an area where a storm killed more than 50 people last week.

 

Date created : 2010-03-17

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